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The State of Florida, in the southeastern region of the United States of America. Most of the state is a large peninsula with the Gulf of Mexico on its west and the Atlantic Ocean on its east. Most of the state has a humid subtropical climate, except for southern Florida, where the climate borders on tropical and the Florida Keys, which have a tropical climate. Florida was named by Juan Ponce de León, who landed on the peninsula on 2 April 1513, during Pascua Florida (Spanish for “Flowery Easter,” referring to the Easter season). Florida’s economy relies heavily on tourism. Florida is situated mostly on a large peninsula between the Gulf of Mexico, the Atlantic Ocean, and the Straits of Florida. It extends to the northwest into a panhandle, extending along the northern Gulf of Mexico. It is bordered on the north by the states of Georgia and Alabama, and on the west, at the end of the panhandle, by Alabama. It is near the countries of the Caribbean, particularly the Bahamas and Cuba. Florida’s extensive coastline made it a perceived target during World War II, so the government built airstrips all around the state. Today approximately 400 airports are still in service due to the coastal geography of the state. Florida is one of the largest states east of the Mississippi. Only Alaska and Michigan are larger in water area.
At 345 feet (105 m) above mean sea level, Britton Hill is the highest point in Florida and the lowest highpoint of any U.S. state. Contrary to popular belief, however, Florida is not entirely “flat.” Some places, such as Clearwater, feature vistas that rise 50 to 100 feet (15–30 m) above the water. Much of the interior of Florida, typically 25 miles (40 km) or more away from the coastline, features hills with elevations ranging from 100 to 250 feet (30–76 m) in many locations. Lake County holds the highest point of peninsular Florida, Sugarloaf Mountain, at 312 feet (95 m).
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